Nesting: An alternative to traditional child custody arrangements

| May 3, 2021 | Custody |

When parents in California divorce, it causes an enormous amount of upheaval in their child’s life. Their child not only has to adjust to their parents not living together anymore, but they traditionally also have to adjust to having two different homes, one with mom and one with dad. This shuttling back and forth between households can cause the child to be stressed at a time when what they truly need is stability. There is an alternative to traditional custody arrangements, however, that avoids this back-and-forth scenario: nesting.

What is nesting?

Nesting is a custody arrangement in which the child stays in the family home, and the parents rotate between living in the family home with the child during their parenting time and living in a separate apartment when it is not their parenting time. This means that the child who stays in one home, rather than living in one home some of the time and a different home the rest of the time. Nesting arrangements generally are not permanent, lasting anywhere from a month or two to several years. However, some parents choose to continue nesting longer than that.

What are the pros to nesting?

Nesting has some pros compared to traditional child custody arrangements. The child gets to stay in the home they are familiar with, which can ease the stress of divorce. The child also stays connected to the community they lived in before the divorce, for example, by staying in the same home and having the same friends. And, the parents have the chance to continue raising their child in the home that they too are familiar with.

What are some issues with nesting?

Nesting only works if both parents can cooperate and communicate effectively. They will have to make rules both for when they have the child in their care and when they do not. For example, they will need to agree on household chores, rules and expenses. Nesting generally will not work if parents carry some animosity towards one another, or if they cannot keep to the arrangements they worked out together. If domestic violence is an issue, nesting may not be appropriate. In addition, if one or both parents start dating or remarry, nesting arrangements may have to end.

Learn more about child custody in California

Ultimately, this post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those in California who want to learn more about child custody are encouraged to explore our firm’s webpage on child custody for further information.